A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.
– Proverbs 17:10
Proverbs consistently distinguishes the wise from the foolish by how they respond to correction (Proverbs 9:8-9; 15:5). The word for entereth means to sink as we would say “sink in.” It’s like instructing someone and then telling them to let it sink in. The first phrase’s point is that the spoken word of reproof sinks in deep to a wise man. He hears reproof, considers it, and is wiser for it (Proverbs 9:9). This contrasts with a hundred stripes the fool receives, but yet will still not amend his way. The term fool is not a comment about mental capacity, but mental outlook that decidedly refuses wisdom (Proverbs 1:29). He won’t respond to the word of reproof, much less the beating of a rod (Proverbs 27:22). He prefers his folly and returns to it like a dog to its own vomit (Proverbs 26:11).